LiveStream Analysis – May 30th, 2017

Like night, I made this live stream:
I consider it a failure   But, like all failures, we have an opportunity to learn something.  When something doesn’t work out, it’s always best to take a step back and reason out its shortcomings.  Otherwise, you’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
So, let’s commence the flagellation!
  • Composition was not solved.
    • Very early on in this painting, I arrived at a composition that I liked, but I settled too quickly.  The buildings on the hill were not solved early on, the sense of scale could be pushed further.
  • No Reference.
    • Civilization does not start abruptly.  A town does not just begin all of a sudden, there’s a progression of buildings on the outskirts of any town, which lead into a denser packed city.  If I used reference, I would have figured this out sooner.
  • No Reference!
    • The desert sort of looks like a desert, the town sort of looks like a town.  The lighting kind of looks correct.  Not good enough.
  • Did not solve color or light.
    • Before I jumped into painting finer details, lighting and color were not solved.  I fought with it in the beginning, but never quite figured it out before I moved into painting if further.  This led to a backwards approach, where I’m trying to fix my mistakes as I move forward   This is a bad workflow, because it does not allow for what Bob Ross calls “Happy Accidents.”
I could go on, but this is a sufficient scolding of my efforts.  Looking at the painting now, I should have stopped 20 minutes in; that at least could have served as a decent sketch.
It’s the Backwards Approach that always gets me, and we all encounter it in our work.  We push too far ahead and leave a mess in our wake, only to have to back track and clean up after ourselves.  I’m quickly considering this to be the death knell of a painting in progress.  If you’re detailing a painting but it feels more like a punishment that meditative pleasure, maybe you should set it aside and work on something else.

Rapid Failure – How to Memorize Complex Objects

What it is.

Dog
An example of using Rapid Failure to memorize dogs.

 

The Rapid Failure method is a technique for memorizing the combinations of simple forms that, when combined together, create something complex.  Everything we perceive can broken down into simple shapes, which is a key principle in drawing.  If we memorize those shapes we can develop a mental roadmap that allows us to depict whatever we want, whenever we want.

I developed this technique while looking for a way to incorporate spaced repetition in drawing, thus allowing me to draw from memory.  I wanted something simple and quick and so far, it’s worked.  Here’s how to do it.

 

How to do it.

helecoptor
RF for an apache helicopter.

 

1. Baseline

  • Attempt to draw the object from memory, as best you can.
  • The drawing will no doubt be abysmal, but it’s important that you record a starting point for later comparison.

 

2. Observe

  • Open up Google and look for clear and precise reference photos, all from various angles.
  • Don’t dive too deep into details or anatomy just yet — look for large forms that you can commit to memory.
  • Compare the reference to your previous attempts.

 

3. Memorize

  • Put the reference away and draw the object from memory.
  • Focus on one or two major shapes, and draw them several times from several angles.

 

4. Repeat

  • Look for your mistakes a calibrate accordingly.
  • If you feel inclined, try drawing the entire object.

 

Benefits.

horse-02
RF for horses.

 

Once you understand how to draw a dog, that knowledge is transferable to every single quadruped that lives or has lived on planet Earth.

 

As the name implies, it’s important that you move rapidly.  But when I say rapid, I don’t mean move the pen as fast as you can — it means to not stop, to move steadily and continuously and to fail with purpose.

Use a pen.  It should be obvious that you’re not going to be erasing anything, and you want your lines to be bold and visible.

Working this way provides some great benefits…

Instills confidence.

  • When you fail on purpose, the fear of getting it wrong evaporates.

Improves line quality.

  • Line quality comes from confidence and control.

Increased awareness of form.

  • Form is paramount to a good drawing.
  • If you focus only on large shapes, you’ll naturally become bias towards depicting form over detail ( which is a good thing ).

The shape, form and construction of various objects is transferable.

  • Once you understand how to draw a dog, that knowledge is transferable to almost every single quadruped living on planet Earth.

 

If you have any questions, agreements or feel like antagonizing me, or a way this technique can be altered and enhanced, do me a solid by leaving a comment below.

Good luck, and have fun failing.